Friday, September 21, 2012


Funny F*ckin' Friday

Veronica works on a way of convincing Phil not to sue the company for freezing him while Ted must mend a rift between his two scientists to ensure their latest project is finished on time.

The review for "Being Dynamic at Veridian Dynamics" can be read here.

This episode is about repercussions, including Phil's (Jonathan Slavin) decision to be frozen, Linda's (Andrea Anders) determination to stick it to the company, and Ted's (Jay Harrington) rule about office affairs. Ted is the glue that holds this company together, as without him all of these characters around him would have fallen apart, yet he never struggles to maintain his composure.

Veronica's (Portia de Rossi) determination to help the legal department avoid being sued by Phil is a strong plot for this episode comically from the legal-speak claiming "[the company's] not sure what it was that that chamber [Phil] entered willing" into was, to Veronica's eventual flirtations with Phil. Claiming that the company is not responsible for Phil's current situation is a case of humor being drawn from events that would take place, while their honoring him in ceremony as a hero is funny due to it's being a stretching of what might happen; to then claim that Phil owes them, since they went to the trouble of honoring him, is so over-the-top that the moment is hysterical, and well played on all parts.

The relationship between Phil and Lem (Malcolm Barrett) is highlighted in this story, both for comedic value and actual depth to both characters. While the friendship that the two men share is very sweet, it's played both for laughs and genuine drama, as they're shown to play pranks on one another, dance ridiculously at the company's Christmas parties, and eventually break down when they're unable to admit that they missed one another.

While most of the running jokes in this show are done very well, a few are repeated so often they lose their value, including the mentions of Chester the carrot, which was quickly run into the ground.

There are a few moments, smaller details, that I found distracting in this episode, not because they were especially sloppy on director Michael Fresco's part, but simply because they're inserted to facilitate a joke and quickly forgotten after the punchline has landed. Veronica, having just poured herself a cup of coffee, mentions the missing creamers, and rather than taking her coffee with her to find more creamers elsewhere, she simply abandons it as though she weren't craving coffee at all.

The chemistry between Harrington and Anders is fantastic, playing both of their characters with a great deal of playful attraction and nervous sexual tension. Barrett's ability to portray Lem's abandonment issues with both a sense of despair and humor is nothing short of fantastic, and Slavin's random screaming had me in fits.

Ted's breaking of the fourth wall, and the commercials for the show's Veridian Dynamics, are astounding in their ability to both move the plot along and convey a sense of humor, and the montage of the company's 'theories' as to why Phil might be screaming at random intervals is great, especially as it cuts back to Phil mid-scream. The sight gags used on this show, from the pulsating lump of meat to Phil's examination of the cow, are absolutely hilarious, as is the jaunty music that plays as Phil and Lem chase their meat-tasting victim down the halls of the company's basement.

Victor Fresco doesn't miss a beat in his script, keeping the humor running through every scene, each character having their own series of recurring gags to work through. Linda's continued attempts to get back at the company expand as the paper towel dispenser is rigged to feed so little through that she's unable to dry her hands completely. She claims that, since it took her "twenty minutes to dry [her] hands [she's] owed twenty minutes of creamer," which, she claims, is "an infinite amount." Her smaller plot eventually combines with the episode's larger plot, and she realizes that the creation of lab-grown meat will lead to the elimination of cows, which will make her collection of company-stolen creamers worth a small fortune.

Better Off Ted continues to be one of the funniest and most intelligent sitcoms in recent history, and every actor has incredible comedic-timing. Each character is flawed in some way, but each of them is also incredibly likeable, even at their worst, and it's a shame that this series didn't have a longer lifespan.

The review for "Through Rose Colored HAZMAT Suits" can be read here.


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